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Colorado governor signs gun control legislation

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper [official website] signed [press release] three bills into law on Wednesday which seek to address gun violence. The Prohibiting Large-capacity Magazines [HB13-1224, PDF], Payment For Background Checks For Gun Transfers [HB13-1228, PDF], and Background Checks for Gun Transfers [HB13-1229] Acts were approved by both houses of the Colorado legislature despite unanimous opposition from Republicans in a state with a tradition of gun ownership and self-reliance [AP report]. The bills were signed eight months after the mass shooting in Aurora, Colorado, that left 12 dead and 58 wounded [Denver Post report]. Hickenlooper issued a statement upon signing the legislation, which maintained the constitutionality of the large-capacity bill under the Second and Fourteenth Amendments [text] of the US Constitution. Colorado joins California, New York and Rhode Island as states that require sweeping background checks [NYT report on virtually all gun purchases].

A number of State and Federal gun control measures have been introduced in the US since the shooting [WSJ backgrounder] at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut in December that left 27 killed, including 20 children. Last week, the Senate Judiciary Committee [official website] approved [JURIST report] two gun control measures which would require background checks for private gun sales and improve security at schools. The Committee also approved a ban on assault weapons, but that bill will not be part of gun control legislation the entire Senate will take up [NY Times report] next month and will instead be offered as an amendment. Earlier this month, US Attorney General Eric Holder [official website] spoke before Congress [JURIST report] urging passage of gun control measures, including universal background checks and a ban on high-capacity magazines and military style assault weapons. Also this month, the Maryland State Senate approved [JURIST report] a bill making it more difficult to obtain a gun license. In January, President Obama [official website] signed 23 executive orders [JURIST report] intended to strengthen existing gun laws and urged congress to take up gun control measures. The previous day, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo [official website] signed legislation [JURIST report] intended to impose tighter restrictions on gun and ammunition sales, banning any magazine that can hold more than seven rounds and implementing instant background checks on all ammunition purchases at the time of sale.

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